30, 2003 - Russian River Part 2
stop was another return trip for me, to the Russian River Campground,
where Carol and Ron welcomed me home again. Besides the warmth of
the hosts, I truly enjoy the peacefulness of the surroundings and
the Kenai River is still my favorite with its cool blue color and
sweet rushing sounds. Mom and I walked the trail to the mouth of
the Russian River where it meets the Kenai and once again I was
fascinated by the different colors of the waters meeting. This trip
was different in that this time the rivers were full of fishermen
easily catching their limit of salmon as they made their way upstream.
The last time I was here on June 4 was before the start of the season
and the excitement it brings.
a couple of weeks ago brought a different kind of uproar when a
brown bear attacked an angler close to where we walked today. The
man is still in critical condition after losing practically his
whole face to a sow after he apparently came between her and her
cubs. Not long before that, a fisherman shot a black bear he felt
threatened by, which left 3 very young cubs orphaned and subsequently
euthanized. Definitely a different world here with out of the ordinary
experiences to our way of thinking, anyway.
we head out back toward Anchorage where we will stock up again on
groceries and supplies and make our way toward Denali. We just heard
yesterday that the area has been experiencing flooding and even
a freak snow storm just a couple of weeks ago, so hopefully that
will calm down in the next few days because that big mountain is
a major draw for me, that's for sure.
31, 2003 - Spur of the Moment Change in Plans
we left Homer our intent was to head back through Anchorage on our
way to Denali. However, when we got to the junction with the choice
of Seward one way and Anchorage the other, we stopped at a roadside
pulloff and spoke to a ranger there. I said the weather looked so
perfect where we were that if I knew for sure it was that clear
in Seward, we'd head back there since we virtually missed it due
to the clouds and rain when we were there last week. She said she
had just driven from there and seeing Seward in the sunshine was
definitely worth the 37 mile trip from that point. So we heeded
that advice and all the way kept exclaiming how glad we were that
we made that decision.
2, 2003 - From the sublime to the ridiculous
way back to Anchorage, the skies were still pretty clear, so I decided
to drive the 16 mile spur off the main road to the little town of
Hope. I was told by several people that it was a really cute little
typical Alaskan town and I had just never managed to get there before.
The road was not great and by the time we got to the end we had
managed to miss the town and by the time I turned around, we decided
it just wasn't worth it to try to find it, so we left Hope-less.
time we got to Anchorage, mom wanted to stop at Sam's Club, so after
shopping there and at WalMart, we decided to spend the night in
the parking lot and head out in the morning toward Denali.
5, 2003 - Denali
headed for Denali National Park, we saw our first grizzly bear on
the side of the road and that was pretty exciting, but it was getting
progressively cloudier as we left Talkeetna.
and gray water tanks were full enough that I wanted to dump before
we got to the campground, so I decided to top off my gas tank at
the next Tesoro gas station so that I could use their dump for free.
I had been told that all Tesoro stations in Alaska have dumps. So
after I had gotten gas and filled my propane tank, and after dealing
with it taking two of their dumb and dumber employees to ring up
my propane purchase 3 times because of mistakes in pricing, I was
informed that this particular Tesoro had no dump. Perhaps it was
because I was so miffed at this turn of events that I didn't see
the end of the curb as I was pulling off and didn't pull out far
enough. Thank God I was going slow enough to feel it immediately
as the tire was squashed into the curb and I thanked God even more
when I saw how close I came to squashing my outside storage bin
particularly thanking God when I had to get out and unhook my car,
tow skirt and all, in order to back up out of that precarious situation,
and by the time I was set to go forward again, I thought that tire
looked like it had lost air and I wanted them to check it out for
any damage. Of course, this "service" station could not
handle that and referred me up the road to a place that serviced
tires along with selling everything else anyone could want or not
want in Alaska. This junk/treasure yard was called "Wal-Mike's"
and he pronounced my tires competent to hit the road.
treat was lots of road construction and in some spots we were led
by pilot car when only one lane was passable and that one lane was
in pretty sad shape. After all these delays, by the time we pulled
in to register in the campground, it was pouring rain. I wasn't
happy at the prospect of backing up and setting up in the rain,
but I was glad I had reservations, as I assumed that meant I had
a reserved space for the size RV I had reserved for. When I finally
got through the check-in line, they gave me a sheet of paper with
several highlighted campsites to choose from for RV's my size.
I foolishly assumed that one of those spaces was actually reserved
for me. But by the time I got through driving around 3 different
loops, all of the highlighted spaces were occupied and it seemed
no available spaces were large enough for me, much less that I wanted
to attempt backing into in the driving rain. I stopped at the camp
host's spot and it was here that I discovered the absolute worst
camp host I have ever encountered in 2 years of full-time RVing.
I told him of my predicament as I stood outside getting wetter by
the minute. His only response was that the park overbooked the larger
spots all the time. This was informative, but not helpful, at 7:00
at night when I was exhausted trying desperately to keep centered
in peace and happiness about being in Denali National Park in Alaska
with my mom.
I trekked on back to the visitor's center, a ranger said they would
check all the sites to see who had maybe parked in a spot too large
for them, a process she said would take about 15 minutes. 40 minutes
later, she led me into a spot that was not intended for the big
RVs, so my front window was right at the front of the road, which
made it so convenient for those coming down the road to splash through
the muddy puddle onto my house.
said wolves are not as plentiful as bear and are rarely seen. That
day we saw a big one circling a grizzly with a kill he was working
on, but finally gave up and headed off into the woods. He also said
the rarest animal seen in the park was the fox. That night on the
way back from extending my stay, I saw one right at the side of
the road. As I stopped, he crossed in front of me, then loped unconcerned
alongside my car as I drove slowly beside him. That was the first
and last time I ever leave the house without my camera!
10, 2003 - North Pole
is my mom's birthday and we spent it at the North Pole. We had originally
planned on spending a couple of days in Fairbanks before getting
serious about heading back south, but those plans didn't pan out.
Since my mom has military base privileges and the one in Fairbanks
has an RV park with full hookups at a cheap price, we tried to call
for reservations, but never got through. So we drove up to the gate
to ask about it, but were told they had no spaces big enough for
me. The guard at the gate looked about 12 years old holding a big
old machine gun, and it was all I could do to ask him how old he
was and if that gun was really loaded. Then I remembered how I felt
when some little old lady told me I looked way too young to have
children and that's when I felt older than my age. I've never felt
like more of a little old lady than I did at that moment. My mom
didn't want to hear it because she can't believe she has kids as
old as us, anyway.
only 10 miles north of Fairbanks at the Santaland RV Park in North
Pole, Alaska. It's been nice to have quiet electricity again and
full hookups. I don't know how it works mathematically, but I have
proven that if you put 2 women in an RV, even when they're trying
to conserve, the usage of water quadruples, not just doubles. So
I'm having to dump old water and get new water almost every other
day just to keep up, so full hookups are especially appreciated
happy to hear that her two newly adopted children, Chuck & Kalyn,
called to wish her happy birthday. I have so enjoyed meeting and
getting to know them - I wonder if we'll hook up again before we
get out of Alaskaland. They're in Anchorage again now and we're
both headed to Hyder, but timing does not put us there together.
Oh, well, since we're family now and all full-time RV, I'm sure
we'll meet somewhere down the road again - a happy prospect already.
we head to Tok, which was my entry city into Alaska way back then
on May 15. Then on to a couple of places along the Alaskan Highway
that were closed when I first drove up, then on to Hyder, Alaska.
That will be the last place we'll be in Alaska before heading back
through BC and the Yukon again. I'm excited about taking a different
route down than I drove up and about seeing Banff and Jasper National
Parks in Canada enroute back to Austin. Too soon to start thinking
about Austin too much yet, though, so think I'll just end this here